Sudan: Lakes State Orders Mass Arrest of Youth Suspected of Violence in Rumbek East

Rumbek — Lakes state's military caretaker governor, Major-General Matur Chut Dhuol, has ordered the immediate arrest of all young men suspected of taking part in recent violence between pastoralist groups in Rumbek East county.

Fighting between the Kok and Agar sections of the Dinka ethnic group on Tuesday last week, killed six people and wounded four others. On Tuesday, Chut ordered Rumbek East county commissioner David Marial Gumke and the local chief of the Dinka Kok to apprehend suspected culprits.

Rumbek East county is located about 24 kilometres east of Rumbek town, the capital of Lakes state.

Chut directed Gumke to use all options available to him to bring the suspected ringleaders to justice. The governor also instructed local chiefs to collaborate with the commissioner in arresting the suspects, warning that any chief that failed to do so would be relieved from his post.

Chut said he wanted "50 youth from both sides of [the] clashes [...] who had participated in clashes [...] so [an] investigation will dig out who is that cause."

Four people have so far been arrested, he said, adding that "those who got involved should [be] arrested and their gun should be taken away because we have already started registering guns."

According to security sources, more than 100 young men are already being held at a military prison in Langcok, located in the northern part of Rumbek.

Chut was appointed in January by a presidential decree that removed the former elected governor, Chol Tong Mayay. Although no official reason has been made public it is assumed that the reshuffle was due to Mayay's failure to maintain security following an outbreak of inter-tribal violence.

Chut has taken a hardline stance on security since his appointment, warning those arrested who have been accused of cattle raiding and inter-clan violence risk being held at secret prisons without access to their families, human rights officials or their own lawyer. In comments shortly after coming to office, Chut said that suspects would only be permitted to see a state-appointed attorney.

Such comments have raised fears among some local people who are concerned about authoritarian rule under Chut.

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